IN-FLIGHT Data has been granted national authorization by Canada to operate drone swarms for battling wildfires beyond the operator's direct visual line of sight (BVLOS). This significant approval permits IN-FLIGHT Data to conduct drone operations as high as 2,500 feet, in both Class F and Class G airspace, irrespective of the time of day.
Chris Healy, the President of IFD, highlighted the implications of this breakthrough permission:
"This new authorization allows IN-FLIGHT Data to embark on wildfire missions that were previously beyond the scope of the BVLOS waiver. The result is a marked enhancement in data collection efficiency, producing richer data sets instrumental for pinpointing fire targets."
The authorization paves the way for simultaneous drone operations (SIMOPS), an advanced method where an experienced pilot manages multiple drones from a singular control station.
Transport Canada has been actively working on formulating aviation regulations tailored for low-risk BVLOS operations within the country. In a bid to ensure that BVLOS operations are conducted safely and are scalable, the regulator unveiled its roadmap for standardizing low-risk BVLOS operations regulations earlier in the year. Presently, these proposed regulations are open for public feedback.
In a broader perspective, Transport Canada's overarching objective revolves around the safe integration of drones into the nation's airspace, mirroring the ambitions of other ICAO member nations, including the US, European Union, Australia, and New Zealand. The introduction of innovations like remote traffic management and SIMOPS signifies a leap forward in aviation efficiency and innovation for Canada.